The Government is consulting on new draft statutory guidance on social housing allocations for local authorities in England. The new guidance, released by Grant Shapps MP on 5th Jan 2012, is intended to assist authorities in taking advantage of the provisions in the Localism Act 2011. The Act gives back to local authorities the freedom to manage their own waiting lists, and makes it easier for them to move existing social tenants to more suitable accommodation.
The draft guidance also hopes to encourage authorities to make best use of the existing flexibilities within the allocation legislation to ensure that social homes go to people who need and deserve them the most. Should it become a reality, Local housing authorities would be required to have regard to the guidance in exercising their functions under Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996.
Grant Shapps, Minister for Housing, reportedly commented:
“For years the system for social housing has been associated with injustice – where rewards are reaped for those who know how to play the system the best. Despite this terrible image a lazy consensus in social housing has ensured that, for an entire generation, no one has bothered to do anything about it.”
He added that the guidance would mean people benefited from living in a social home “when they need it, for as long as they need it” and reportedly said that a social tenancy would no longer be seen as “a stagnant option for life, but a launch pad to fulfil aspirations”.
Alongside the guidance, the Government is consulting on two sets of draft regulations relating to the Armed Forces. The regulations will ensure that former Service men and women who have urgent housing needs are given ‘additional preference’ (i.e. high priority) for social housing – so that they will be at or near the top of housing waiting lists; and that Service personnel who move from base-to-base do not lose their qualification rights.
The consultation, covering all of the above aspects, is open until 30 March 2012. The paper can be downloaded here.
See our blog on tenancy agreements for young residents being rolled out in Barnet, London, by clicking here.